Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with press on Sept. 5, 2016, aboard his campaign plane, while flying over Ohio, as Vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence looks on.
Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Waiting for Trump to share his secret sources of information

On New Year’s Eve, Donald Trump once again said he’s skeptical about the information from U.S. intelligence agencies pointing to evidence of Russian hacking during the 2016 election. But in this case, the president-elect went a little further, telling reporters, “I also know things that other people don’t know.”

And what might that be? “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday,” Trump added.

Well, today’s Tuesday. What, pray tell, will the president-elect tell us about his secret sources of information, which gives him special insights U.S. intelligence agencies lack?

Evidently, not much. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said yesterday Trump doesn’t necessarily have anything new to reveal. The president-elect, Spicer explained, is only prepared to “talk about his conclusions and where he thinks things stand.” As Politico noted, Kellyanne Conway made similar comments last night.
Conway also backed her boss away from a promise he made on New Year’s Eve, when he told his traveling pool of reporters that “I also know things that other people don’t know” regarding cyberattacks against U.S. political targets that the U.S. intelligence community have attributed to the Russian government. Trump has been unwilling to concede that assessment and told reporters that “you’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday” what information he has that nobody else does.

“He didn’t say, he didn’t necessarily say he’d announce it. What he’s saying is that we’ll find out, he’ll find out. I think it’s all very contingent on what these intelligence officials reveal in their briefing, Anderson, and everybody should be very happy that the president-elect is open to receiving that briefing. He’s very much looking forward to that,” Conway told [CNN’s Anderson Cooper].
First, let’s not set the bar for public satisfaction too low. “Everybody should be very happy that the president-elect is open to receiving that briefing”? Really? When it comes to Donald Trump, Americans should be delighted the incoming president is willing to listen to public officials with sensitive information – which he may ultimately ignore?

Second, based on comments from two of his top aides, when Trump declared, “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday,” he didn’t mean a word of it.

It’s not the first time Trump and top members of his team have contradicted each other, and it’s a safe bet this won’t be the last.